ROME, 8 February 2013 – The OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, called for greater dialogue and co-operation among Mediterranean States at a seminar today on human trafficking in the region.
The event is one of the first initiatives to focus on human trafficking from the southern rim of the Mediterranean to Europe, with a particular focus on labour exploitation.
“The fight against trafficking in human beings plays an important role in this partnership and, more broadly, in the OSCE’s efforts to build a security community based on trust, dialogue and partnership among States and their civil society,” said OSCE Secretary General Lamberto Zannier. “Today’s seminar will not only contribute to shedding light on the dynamics involved in these mixed migration flows, but also to opening up new perspectives on how we can more effectively co-operate with our Mediterranean Partners to prevent and combat human trafficking in the region.”
The seminar brings together officials and civil society representatives from OSCE participating States including Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and Greece, as well as from OSCE Mediterranean Partner countries including Algeria, Israel, Jordan and Tunisia, to shed light on the exploitation of migrants and explore ways to ensure the protection of their rights, prosecution of perpetrators and sustainable prevention.
“Every year many people die while attempting to reach the northern Mediterranean,” Giammarinaro said. “Those who survive are often trapped in exploitative situations, and obliged to work for no or very little salary. On both sides of the Mediterranean, what often appears as irregular migration is in fact the exploitation of individuals by organized crime and unscrupulous employers. We need to co-operate better to bring perpetrators to justice, and protect the rights of trafficked and exploited migrants.”
Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, Portuguese State Secretary for Parliamentary Affairs and Equality Teresa Morais, Riccardo Migliori, President of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly and Ambassador Ihor Prokopchuk, Ukraine’s Permanent Representative and Chairman of the Permanent Council, are also among the high-level speakers at the conference.
The seminar, convened by the OSCE Office of the Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, is being funded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Government of the Grand-Duchy of Luxembourg and hosted by the Italian Chamber of Deputies.